Read Time: 4 Minutes

 

For independent travel businesses, competition with major online travel agents can be fierce. Often, these operations run on a large scale and can reach a broader customer base, and as a result, pose significant challenges to the rest of the travel industry. 

For many customers, OTAs offer convenience and access to discounted holidays as well as the ability to compare offers. These may be the key factors that attract customers. However, customer service is still significant to many people. And this is the point of difference that independent travel businesses offer. 

To compete, however, it’ll take more than excellent service. You need to focus your attention on providing a combination of automation, personalisation, remarketing, and work on attaining multi-channel exposure. 

In short, to fight the dominant OTAs, you need to invest in your online presence. 

Streamline Your Operation With Automation 

Automation will be a key element in the transformation of your business. This means reviewing your processes and seeing what can be made more effecient. How can you make your operations smoother so that you can pay more attention to your customers? 

Including a personalised touch to your automation will allow your customers to retain the feeling that they are still valued and are receiving the best service possible. 

To automate your travel business, you should look at finding a single platform that can handle all of your business operations in the simplest possible way. This means a full integrating CRM functionality within your business platform. 

The technology that you use should be able to handle every aspect of your travel businesses process, including: 

  • Lead generating 
  • Responding to customer queries 
  • Taking bookings
  • Managing inventory
  • Taking payments
  • Creating sales reports

Take a Multi-Channel Approach 

To achieve maximum success with your automated systems, your CRM needs to be mobile-friendly. 

Mobile browsing accounts for more than half of web traffic, and customers will often book their holidays straight from their smartphone. In fact, the smartphone booking percentages rise closer to the date of the holiday it is. Don’t miss out on this important market share. 

Linking your service with a mobile app will improve the customer service experience while allowing you direct access to engage with your customers, and learn more about their habits and preferences. 

Having this type of technology and customer information at your disposal will make it easier when remarketing any leads have not led to a booking. 

Successful Marketing and Remarketing Using Customer Personalisation 

When improving the digital experience that your travel business offers, look for ways to create a personalised experience for your customers. This means searching for ways to engage in a meaningful way. 

Throughout the booking process, there are multiple opportunities to have automated emails and messages sent to your customers. These may include: 

  • Booking confirmations
  • Payment received messages
  • Bon voyage messages

You could, however, tailor some more personalised content that will add value to your customers. This could include: 

  • Suggestions for places to visit on their holiday 
  • Packing lists
  • Weather forecasts for the date and location of their holiday
  • Advice on visas and vaccinations 

But don’t just stop at getting in touch before their holiday. With many customers keen to book their next holiday immediately after the last one, it’s always a good idea to have automated emails sent out asking for feedback on their holiday. 

Travel marketing should not just be about making one booking. If you have promotions for returning customers or a loyalty scheme, a great chance to promote these is when asking how a customer’s holiday was. 

Make Life Easier for You and Your Customers

By developing a convenient multi-channel experience for your customers, you will be ensuring they can easily book with you, whether from a desktop site, their web browsers, or a smartphone app. 

But investing in that point of difference and finding ways to personalise the experience at every opportunity will help to remind your customers how important they are to you. It will be this that keeps your customers coming back time-and-again when you retarget them through your end-to-end system with CRM.  

Investing in technology and automation does not need to lead to a soulless experience for your customers. Remember to add your brand’s personality into everything that you do. 

Travel agent marketing using this type of automated system will save you money. You’ll be able to deliver a higher standard of personalised experience without having to worry about the additional expenses required in hiring a large team of customer service advisors. 

 

Jack Barron

Director

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Starting his marketing journey at age 15 promoting music events, Jack went on to plan, market and execute his own events before joining the British Army and serving two front-line tours of Helmand Province. Upon returning to ‘civvy street’ he set up Rebel Marketing to provide marketing consultancy services to the events industry. At around the same time, he undertook an Events Management Degree at the University of Central Lancashire, attaining a 1st Class (Hons) Bachelor Degree, before moving to Manchester to work as the digital marketing manager for a city centre agency specialising in financial services marketing, eventually becoming their marketing director.
Whilst there he undertook an MSc in Marketing Communications at Manchester Metropolitan Unversity before reactivating and rebranding Rebel Marketing as Invoke Media in 2015. After moving Invoke Media to his hometown of Preston in 2018 to support the development and growth of the area, he has since started further studies and is due to complete another MSc in Psychology from the University of Central Lancashire.
Jack is passionate about marketing and helping small to medium-sized businesses thrive. His experience working in the fast-moving events industry from a young age, along with a strong drive and discipline fostered by his time on the front line, all contribute to the work ethic and values of the company.

How many times have you given a piece of advice to a friend, to then not follow it yourself when the time comes?

I don’t have enough fingers and toes to add those occasions up, and I’m going to be bold and say that the same could be said for most people. The fact is, it’s very easy to give advice in hindsight or from an objective viewpoint, but when you’re in the ‘here and now’ or heavily involved in something it’s a completely different matter. It’s almost as though we’re blind to our own reasoning and common sense.

We’re All Hypocrites

The fact is, we’re all hypocrites to some degree, not one of us is perfect. I’ve done things that are so completely out of line with my morals and views it has shocked me, and I’ve made decisions that feel like they were made by a completely different person. When this happens you get that uneasy feeling, like everything in your mind is misaligned…that’s a psychological phenomenon known as Cognitive Dissonance. 

It’s the stress you experience when you realise you hold two contradictory beliefs or values, or have done something against what you believe. It’s your mind trying to make sense of what you’ve done justify your actions to make yourself feel easier and balance out the uneasiness. I’ve had it this week.

Being self-aware and accepting that you don’t always follow your own rules and morals is healthy. When you feel that cognitive dissonance discomfort and try to justify what you’ve done, or not done, you have a choice. You can make excuses or you can take stock of the situation and hold yourself accountable. If you choose the latter and acknowledge the problem, you’re taking steps to stop it happening again and you’re learning from your mistakes. I believe it’s a crucial part of having a growth mindset.

I’m going to bring this back to business now before I start incriminating myself or ruin any friendships, but the idea is the same.

Over the years as a marketing consultant, I’ve given loads of great advice to clients, and it’s worked. I’ve leveraged years in the industry and a masters degree in Marketing to provide the best advice and solutions for people. That has continued as the business has grown and the team has expanded to create the boutique marketing agency we now operate here in Preston. But do I always follow it?

In short, no. 

Jack Barron, Invoke Media Director and Self-Confessed Hypocrite

I’m passionate about the work we do for our clients and the results we create, but being caught in the ‘here and now’ of those campaigns has meant that my own business has suffered and we’ve not done some of the basic things that we advise and execute for our customers, and that bothers me. 

We manage many social media channels on behalf of our clients and promote the benefit of regular posting of quality content, but if you were to look at our own Facebook Page for example, you will notice that we went through most of January without a post. Now that could partly to be with a great festive period and the extremely long hangovers I’m cursed with these days, but it’s not aligned with what we believe and what we advise.

Google Reviews….we generate thousands of reviews on Google, Trustpilot and Tripadvisor for clients, but our own reviews are limited, to say the least. The important thing is they’re all five-star reviews, but still…we should be practising what we preach and provide to our clients.

It’s About Trust

It’s more than just having a growth mindset and feeling good about the things we do though…it comes down to authority and leading by example. How can our clients have trust that we will provide the results they need if we aren’t demonstrating them ourselves? Anyone can share marketing advice, it’s easily found on the Internet, but are they actually able to execute it and are they practising it themselves? It’s about the proof in the pudding, and leading by example…something I have always prided myself on. 

A few weeks ago I conducted a competitor analysis for a client and identified some issues with their Google My Business listing. Living by our core values I thought I would hold myself accountable and check our own with the same competitor analysis framework. To my dismay, it had our Manchester phone number, old images and other wrong information. The cognitive dissonance kicked in, I tried to internally justify why it hadn’t been updated and started to look for people to blame, but I checked myself and remembered that the buck always stops with me…and in fact, it’s my job to sort it anyway. I fixed it there and then, and in doing so have seen a marked improvement. 

The fact is, we are never going to fully live by the advice or morals that we think that we abide by. Life is complicated, so is business. We get carried away with the day-to-day and forget some of the foundations of who we are or what we do. The important thing is understanding that this happens and acknowledging it when it does so that you reduce the chances of it happening again or mitigate its effects. 

Taking Action

I now dedicate one day per month to checking everything we do…from going through our subscriptions to auditing our website and checking our Facebook Page is up to date. The ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign goes on the door, the blinds go down and my email alerts are turned off. That’s my excuse anyway, my Internet history might tell a different story. I joke. I go through it all, and I always find something that needs changing or could be improved.

What I’m trying to get at is, if you don’t practice what you preach and hold yourself to account…how will your customers trust that you’re as good as you say you are? How can you do a good job for them when you can’t do it for yourself? Take the time to step back and look at your own business, hold it to the same scrutiny as you would a competitor or customer and make the necessary changes. Do it regularly. 

Practising What I Preach – My Promise to You

I’m going to practice what I preach in this very blog and make some public commitments that I/we as a team can be held accountable for:

  • At the time of writing, we have five 5* Google reviews. By the end of March 2020, we will have increased that to a total of fifteen genuine 5* reviews.
  • We will have posted at least 3 times per week on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, without sacrificing quality.
  • I’ve been wanting to run a marathon for years, I will have booked on a full marathon for some time in 2020 by the end of February.

Feel free to hold me to account and pull me/us up if we don’t.

 

Contact us: Hello@invokemedia.co.uk

 

Jack Barron

Director

Invoke Media

01772 921 109

Invoke Media Retires Flagship Virtual Marketing Service

Preston based marketing agency retires its successful consultancy service 

Preston based marketing agency Invoke Media have announced that they are retiring two popular services to make way for strategic growth. 

The Virtual Marketing Director and Virtual Marketing Manager services provided businesses in the North of England with marketing director or manager level support at a fraction of the cost of hiring; embedding a member of the Invoke staff with an existing business marketing team for a set number of days each month to support campaigns or upskill existing talent.

The service which has proven extremely successful has been running for two years, servicing clients across multiple industries, but is now being retired to make way for new services and to react to market demand.

Invoke Media director Jack Barron explained:

Invoke Director Jack Barron Consults with Client

“We’ve been running the virtual marketing services for a couple of years now and they’ve been a great way for us to support businesses across the region. We have recently undertaken a strategic review and assessed the needs of the market, culminating in our ‘Invoke 2020’ initiative. 

It’s an exciting initiative for us with some great opportunities for local business, making Artificial Intelligence, Messenger Marketing and Lead Generation available to businesses of all sizes. 

Unfortunately, in order to bring in the new, we need to do away with the old and retire some of our legacy services. This isn’t just to free up capacity, but also to account for the changing nature of the market, and where we sit as a business within that market”.

In recent years Invoke has led the way with innovative messenger marketing campaigns across multiple industries, and have recently delivered a campaign that utilises artificial intelligence to handle customer service enquiries and secure bookings. 

Existing users of the virtual marketing services being retired will not be affected, with the option being provided to switch to a new service when their agreement is due for renewal. 

A press release to mark the launch of a new suite of services is expected soon.

Further Information

Invoke Media are a marketing consultancy based at Preston’s Cotton Court Business Centre, having moved from their Manchester base in 2018.

Specialising in consultative strategy, paid social advertisements & lead generation, they serve a range of local and national clients across both B2B and B2C markets.

 

Press Contact:

Jack Barron, Director

Email:

Jack@Invokemedia.co.uk

Telephone:

01772  921 109

 

Read Time: 6 Minutes

 

The hotel industry is competitive. And, when you’re competing against the likes of Airbnb or major budget hotel chains, it can be hard to attract guests. 

But there are ways that you can make your hotel stand out. Investing in the right marketing strategies can make a huge impact in overcoming the challenges of the competitive market. 

So how do you go about coming up with marketing strategies that will make a difference to your business? 

Here are nine ways that you can market your hotel. 

1. Use Search Engine Optimization 

One of the best ways of attracting attention to your hotel is by making sure your website is at the top of the search engine results pages. 

This means investing in search engine optimization (SEO).  

Use the right keywords, working on your sites page loading speeds, and use local SEO techniques such as getting your hotel listed with Google My Business, amongst many others. You may want to enlist the help of a marketing agency if you aren’t particularly tech/marketing savvy.

Whilst SEO is definitely a strong tactic to pursue, it’s worth noting that it is a slow burner and there are no guarantees that you will achieve the desired ranking. That being said, with the right approach this can be one of the most cost-effective and long-lasting tactics to employ to increase your hotel bookings.

2. Paid Social Media Ads

Social media ads on sites like Facebook and Instagram will let you directly target the types of customers that you want to attract to your hotel. 

Instead of posting an ad online, that is destined to reach a set amount of random people, using targetted ads will allow you to post ads onto the news feeds of people who fit a certain demographic. 

Work out who your ideal customer is, and they target them. You’ll see a much greater return on your marketing spend by using this efficient marketing strategy. 

Paid Social is a great way to cost-effectively reach out to the masses but beware of spending money willy-nilly. Paid social advertisements can be a money pit for the less experienced, especially if they’re blinded by vanity metrics that don’t turn into paying customers! If you’re not an experienced paid social advertisement marketer then we highly suggest speaking to one before starting any campaign.

3. Remarketing 

Do you know how many customers abandon their bookings on your site? And, what makes them leave your site without booking a room? 

Sometimes it’s because the competition offered a better deal, but in other cases, they may have been distracted and forgotten to complete the booking. 

Using the digital footprint left by these customers, it is possible to re-engage them through remarketing. 

Have you ever looked at a pair of shoes online and then been presented with the same pair (or similar) across multiple digital platforms? That’s remarketing/retargeting for you. It’s a great way of sweeping up those people that didn’t convert, those that got distracted and those who just plain forgot to book! Grab them before they land on your competitor’s website.

4. Generate and Nurture Leads

There are several ways of generating hotel leads. You could use social media posts, engage with hotel reviews, post blogs, or get involved in the local community. 

One of the most effective ways we’ve secured leads for customers is through a combination of paid social advertisements and messenger marketing. Running competitions to capture data of those within the target audience or retargeting website visitors who simply forgot to press the ‘book’ button.

The idea is simple…capture their information (with consent) and then develop trust.

Once you have a lead, you need to be able to nurture and foster a level of trust between each other, until they either feel confident enough to part with their money or the time is right for them to book. This may be done by sending emails or by using specific, targeted, dynamic ads on Facebook. 

5. Incentivise Your Customers 

Everyone loves something for free. Whilst you may not be in a position to give away a free stay to everyone that you speak to (you are a business after all!) you could certainly make them feel special with a discount, room upgrade or loyalty scheme.

Give your guests a reason to book with you rather than your competitors, make them feel special and develop a long-lasting relationship.

You may want to give first-time visitors a discount of 10%, or reduced rates for booking a second night. You may want to throw in a bottle of something fizzy upon arrival, or include tickets to a local show…whatever you can think of that has value to your customers.

A caveat…if your hotel is high-end or considered premium, giving incentives might make it appear cheap or damage the brand. That doesn’t mean you can’t still do it though…give them a reason for your incentives such as celebrating your business’s birthday year, helping our specific industries such as emergency services or other key workers. Maybe you want to celebrate a national awareness day or gift newly married couples…maybe all of the above. It doesn’t really matter, the concept is simple. Remove the negative effect of incentives of your brand and shift the purpose of them from being a tool to secure their custom, to you rewarding them for something specific. It’s much more effective and provided it is done right (and tastefully!), it can really help to make your business like more caring and philanthropic.

6. Know Your Peak Booking Seasons

It is essential that you know when your busiest season for people making bookings is. This will allow you to plan your hotel marketing calendar. 

When it comes to peak booking season, you should be increasing your marketing spend to coincide with this. Start placing your ads ahead of the peak. 

Using ad schedules will help you manage your marketing calendar. 

7. Stay in the Front of Your Customers Minds With Email 

There are lots of chances for you to get in touch with your guests via email. If they’re staying with you soon, in addition to the booking confirmation emails, think about sending out emails suggesting places to visit when they’re in town, reminders of what they should pack, or even an update on what the weather forecast is set to be during their stay. 

Once they’ve been and stayed with you, email again and ask for feedback on their visit, then, email them whenever you have an offer that may interest them. 

If you’ve generated leads from marketing campaigns and they’ve never actually stayed with you, it’s great to stay front of mind with these people too!

We all live hectic lifestyles with multiple commitments, people look for quick solutions and the least path of resistance when arranging their plans. By providing them with a simple and timely option to book their hotel, delivered straight to their inbox and sorted in just a few clicks, you dramatically increase your chances against the competition.

It’s worth also noting that people aren’t always ready to make a purchase when they researcgh their options, and in fact, they will likely research multiple options when looking for a hotel (including your competition) by reminding them who you are and positioning yourself as a helpful, caring hotel, you increase the chances that you’re going to be the first people they think of when they are finally ready to book.

*Update. We’ve recently written an article on Front of Mind (FoM) awareness and the impact it can have. Read it HERE.

8. Build Connections With Partner Businesses 

By building up connections with other local businesses, you’ll be able to work together to combine your marketing efforts. 

For example, you could work with local restaurants or bars, or even connect with local tourist attractions or tour businesses. By teaming up together, you’ll be able to offer each other discounts on their services to your visitors, and they would do the same for their customers. 

Remember what we said earlier about incentives? Why not work with local providers to get those incentives for your potential customers (free or at low cost to you), and help support the local economy?

9. Improve Your Website Design 

An attractive website is something that will help bring visitors to your hotel. If visiting your website feels like an experience, this may translate into the idea that a visit to your hotel will be too. 

While you do want to grab the attention of visitors, you will need to make sure that you make sure your website is simple to use and easy to navigate. You need to make it as straightforward as possible for users to book their stay. 

It’s all about user experience…if it loads too slowly, looks unprofessional with lots of spelling mistakes and low-quality images and it isn’t clear how to move around the site…the chances are they’re going to go somewhere else within the first ten seconds.

We’re more than happy to discuss any part of the above blog in relation to your business, without obligation or charge. We believe in adding value long before any commercial conversation or transaction, it’s part of our core values. Please feel free to get in touch and we’d be happy to help you wherever we can. Just email us at: hello@invokemedia.co.uk

 

Jack Barron

Director

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Starting his marketing journey at age 15 promoting music events, Jack went on to plan, market and execute his own events before joining the British Army and serving two front-line tours of Helmand Province. Upon returning to ‘civvy street’ he set up Rebel Marketing to provide marketing consultancy services to the events industry. At around the same time, he undertook an Events Management Degree at the University of Central Lancashire, attaining a 1st Class (Hons) Bachelor Degree, before moving to Manchester to work as the digital marketing manager for a city centre agency specialising in financial services marketing, eventually becoming their marketing director.
Whilst there he undertook an MSc in Marketing Communications at Manchester Metropolitan Unversity before reactivating and rebranding Rebel Marketing as Invoke Media in 2015. After moving Invoke Media to his hometown of Preston in 2018 to support the development and growth of the area, he has since started further studies and is due to complete another MSc in Psychology from the University of Central Lancashire.
Jack is passionate about marketing and helping small to medium-sized businesses thrive. His experience working in the fast-moving events industry from a young age, along with a strong drive and discipline fostered by his time on the front line, all contribute to the work ethic and values of the company.

Read Time: 3 Minutes

 

Marketing should be an essential element of your travel business. And, if you want to continually engage new customers, and re-engage existing and old customers, then one of the best ways that you can do this is through paid social media ads. 

Two of the best platforms for targeting customers for your travel business are Facebook and Instagram. 

With over 2.4 billion monthly active users on Facebook, and over 1 billion on Instagram, the potential reach for social media advertising is enormous. 

But the volume of users on these popular social networks is only part of the picture.  

In this article, we’ll discuss why travel businesses need to be using paid social advertising as in their marketing strategy. 

Facebook and Instagram Ads Allows Specific Targeting 

Aside from the fact that Facebook has the most significant number of users out of all social media platforms, the fact that you can fine-tune the ads that you target is a huge benefit. And, as Instagram is owned by Facebook, ads can be focused in a similar way. 

When choosing who will see your targeted Facebook and Instagram ads, you can tailor your ads to any of the following user criteria: 

  • Location
  • Age and birthday 
  • Gender
  • Language
  • Interests
  • Relationship status 
  • Education
  • Work 

Instead of spending your marketing budget on ads that go out to millions of random users, by tailoring specific demographics, you will be more likely to have more success. 

Targeted ads will have a higher click-through-rate and ultimately lead to greater conversion. 

It is Possible to Retarget Customers Using Facebook and Instagram

If someone has visited your site but left without booking a holiday, don’t let that lead die. They may still be interested. 

By using retargeting, it is possible to re-engage that customer. This can be done through targeted ads tailored to the specific products they were looking at, which will appear on their feeds. 

Use Cross-Promotion Between Facebook and Instagram 

Because Instagram is owned by Facebook, the two social media sites are connected in more ways than just ownership. 

If you’re using one of these platforms for sharing targeted ads, you could just as easily cross-promote your content via both in a seamless way. 

Facebook and Instagram Ads Can be Versatile

The ability to easily target your leads through Facebook and Instagram is enhanced by the fact that you can advertise in the way that best suits your campaign. 

You can use striking visuals to capture the attention of your customers. If you’ve got more to say, a short video will really get the message across.  

Paid Targeted Ads on Facebook or Instagram Reach the Right Customer

If you’re sending out generalised ads that go out to masses of news feeds without targeting, you will be less likely to convert users into customers. 

Blind ad campaigns will have limited effect because you have no control over who sees your ads. They may be going to the wrong demographic completely. 

Nurturing Your Leads

At any point in your sales process from lead generation through to making the sale, you can nurture your leads through the use of Instagram or Facebook ads as well as marketing tools such as chatbots. 

Link up your CRM with your advertising strategy and engage users at the different contact stages to keep reminding them of what you’ve got on offer. 

Targeted Ads Can Lead to Extended Viral Reach 

Because the core of both Facebook and Instagram is social sharing, when users engage with your marketing, it helps your content reach a wider audience. 

Creating targeted ads that elicit some kind of response from users will mean that you end up reaching a wider audience without having to pay to target them.  

An example of this would be a post asking users to share their memories of visiting a specific popular travel destination. 

By posting ads that have a social factor to them, you’ll be able to build up likes and follows on your companies profile. 

Using Facebook Dynamic Ads Allows You to Fine-Tune Your Offers

Facebook Dynamic Ads allow you to tailor the ad experience to the specific user. Dynamic ads will ensure that specific travel messages are given to the right people. 

By uploading all of your inventory and offers, Dynamic Ads will display the exact holiday that a user will be most interested in. This information may be based on previous browsing history or abandoned transactions. 

These types of paid social advertisement are one of the most effective tools that you could have at your disposal. 

 

If you would like to discuss how paid social media advertisements can work for your travel business then don’t hesitate to give us a shout! Send us an email now to hello@invokemedia.co.uk

 

Jack Barron

Director

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Starting his marketing journey at age 15 promoting music events, Jack went on to plan, market and execute his own events before joining the British Army and serving two front-line tours of Helmand Province. Upon returning to ‘civvy street’ he set up Rebel Marketing to provide marketing consultancy services to the events industry. At around the same time, he undertook an Events Management Degree at the University of Central Lancashire, attaining a 1st Class (Hons) Bachelor Degree, before moving to Manchester to work as the digital marketing manager for a city centre agency specialising in financial services marketing, eventually becoming their marketing director.
Whilst there he undertook an MSc in Marketing Communications at Manchester Metropolitan Unversity before reactivating and rebranding Rebel Marketing as Invoke Media in 2015. After moving Invoke Media to his hometown of Preston in 2018 to support the development and growth of the area, he has since started further studies and is due to complete another MSc in Psychology from the University of Central Lancashire.
Jack is passionate about marketing and helping small to medium-sized businesses thrive. His experience working in the fast-moving events industry from a young age, along with a strong drive and discipline fostered by his time on the front line, all contribute to the work ethic and values of the company.

For Immediate Distribution

Date: 28th August 2019

Preston Boutique Marketing Agency Grows Team After Major Client Wins

Preston based Invoke Media launch recruitment campaign to support rapid growth

Cotton Court Business Centre based Invoke Media have launched a recruitment campaign to find new marketing assistants after a series of major client wins that has seen them approach their workload capacity.

The agency moved from Manchester in June of 2018, and has gone from strength to strength in a booming Central Lancashire economy.

Invoke Media director Jack Barron

Preston born director Jack Barron said:

“It’s been an absolutely amazing 18 months for Invoke Media, and the last 12 months specifically have been a game changer. The outdated negative view of Preston as a ‘grim northern town’ that simply feeds commuters to major hubs like Manchester is gone.

We’re a vibrant city with our own thriving economy that is growing by the day. We’ve got massive amounts of investment going into the city, we’ve recently ranked 60 in the UK for digital influence and we’re seeing more and more businesses startup and succeed.

Bringing Invoke to Preston was a bold move, but by far the best move we’ve made in our 6 years of trading. We’ve quadrupled our turnover and we’re playing our part in the development of an upcoming city.”

This year Invoke has announced client wins with local hospitality heavyweights The San Marco Group, the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce’s BID Preston brand and local success story GetStaffed UK to name but a few.

Successful candidates will be provided with a structured training package and gradual workload, regardless of experience. They can expect to work on campaigns for local clients as well as national names in numerous industries. 

The business has a real focus on the hospitality, recruitment and personal finance industries however. Carving a very defined path of success with innovative techniques such as messenger marketing and automated lead generation through paid social ads.

Invoke Media celebrating San Marco Group contract win earlier in 2019. Pictured is Jack Barron (left) and Carlo Bragagnini (right)

Jack Barron continued:

“This is a great opportunity for someone to come into the business at our time of growth. Learn the techniques that are making us stand out to national clients and help define the future of Invoke Media. We’re recruiting someone who very much integral to our growth, and hopefully that will excite them as much as it does us.”

Press Contact:

Evie Mrkalj, Marketing Executive

Email:

Evie@invokemedia.co.uk

Telephone:

01772  921 109

We’re looking for a dedicated individual to join our small team to support a period of rapid growth and major client wins.

Marketing experience is definitely preferred, but not essential as training will be given. However an excellent grasp of the English language is essential.

Invoke Media Director Jack Barron said:

“We’re looking for the right person to compliment our team. We’ve had some great customer wins since coming back to Preston and we’re approaching workload capacity. The successful candidate or candidates will be crucial in our growth over the coming months and we’re looking for someone who’s excited by the prospect of being the driving force behind it.

Is this you or someone you know?”

Responsibilities & Tasks:

  • Social Media Management
  • Reporting
  • Writing Blog Posts
  • Critiquing Other Blog Posts
  • Email Marketing
  • Messenger Marketing
  • Account Management
  • Supporting Business Admin

Please don’t be put off if you don’t have experience in these areas at the moment. We have put together a structured training package to bring you up to speed over the next 6 months and you will learn progressively on the job, with an experienced director helping you along the way.

The job role will initially be heavily focused on social media scheduling and management at a very manageable level, with additional responsibilities being added (and skills developed) over a period of time.

Working Hours

  • 8 hours per day (inc. 1 hour unpaid lunch)
  • 2 days per week

We believe in flexible and off-site working. As long as the work gets done and to a good standard, we’re happy!

After your probation, you will be allowed to work from home one of your two days but will be required for face-to-face team meetings as least once a week.

Health & Mental Wellbeing

We acknowledge the connection between physical and mental wellbeing. As such we have a health & mental wellbeing policy in place, which includes perks such as membership to a nearby gym.

We work with a wide variety of clients including & not limited to:

  • Restaurants
  • Bars
  • Financial Services
  • Recruitment Agencies

Working with a number of high profile local and national clients.

 

Desired/ Preferred:

  • Degree educated
  • Marketing experience
  • Commercial awareness
  • Love of reading/writing/English
  • Entrepreneurial
  • Tech Savvy
  • Creative

Essential:

  • Excellent
  • Sense of humour
  • Reliable
  • Able to work autonomously
  • Personable
  • Committed – We’re after a long term team member.

Benefits:

  • Flexible/remote working (after probation)
  • Learn on the job from an experienced marketer
  • Good rate of pay – increases incrementally with time and skills learned
  • Learn cutting edge marketing skills & tactics

Deadline

All CV’s and applications must be received by end of play 16th September 2019.

Who is it for?:

This job would be ideally suited for an experienced marketer on a career break, a post-grad student or someone who has recently started/looking to start their own business but needs secure income*

We will consider students, however we are looking for a long-term team member. Students would have to demonstrate their commitment to staying in the area (year round) and with the business long term.

About us:

We’re a small business that believes in staying lean. We have a unique structure and agreements with other businesses that keep our overheads low, but there is an urgent need to bring more people onboard to manage major client wins and keep us providing the best service to our customers.

We are a marketing agency based at Cotton Court Business Centre in Preston city centre, dealing with high profile clients in the local hospitality and recruitment industries, as well as national level clients in various fields.

Based in the centre of Preston at Cotton Court Business Centre.

 

Finally

This is a great opportunity for someone to join a successful company on its growth journey. We have a great laugh in the office but we knuckle down and get things done.

The director is an experience marketer with a masters degree in marketing, who is willing to teach techniques and tactics to a willing and eager applicant.

We can’t reiterate enough the need for someone who is looking to commit to us. We’ve had our fingers burnt by people using us for a one-time pay day in the past and want to avoid this again. As a small business it is not only time consuming but comes with considerable financial cost.

*We believe in supporting small business and are in a position to provide marketing support to anyone who fits this description.

Interested?

Email: Hello@InvokeMedia.co.uk with an up to date CV and cover letter. All applicants will receive a reply whether successful or not.

Invoke Media: A Brief History

Today we are celebrating 6 years of Invoke Media…kind of. 

Much like the queen, we’ve actually got two birthdays. The day we started trading, and the day we became incorporated as a limited company, which as it happens was the 1st August 2013.

Our story has previously been untold, and to be honest there’s probably not that many people interested…but allow us to be self indulgent for a day. It is our birthday after all.

2009-2010: The Planning Years

The idea for the business came way back early in 2010, in a remote patrol base in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. An unusual starting for the business to say the least, but our director was serving and in his down time came up with the ideas and plans for the business & the events that it was to organise and market. 

Having been involved in the planning and promotion of events before and during his service, he made the decision to return to ‘civvy street’, attend university and concurrently set up business to organise and consult on events marketing. A prospectus was sent out and ideas for successful events to come were thrashed out in the sweltering heat of Southern Afghanistan.

2011 – 2013: The Early Years

The first 18 months were spent working closely with local licensed trade, UCLan Student’s Union and numerous small businesses in the Preston area. There were many successes, many more failures but things generally were going well.

It was on 1st August 2013 that the business was incorporated on the advice of our accountants (who we still work with to this day) Woodville Accountancy. Being a limited company gave us more legitimacy and our client base grew. Rebel Marketing & Promotions Ltd. was born.

Rebel Marketing (Invoke) organised, marketed & sold out many successful events. Including a 2000 capacity festival.

2013 – 2015: The Formative Years

Our client base diversified and we cut our teeth in new industries, with the business moving away from events and licensed trade (for the most part). We honed our skills in lead generation, paid social and PPC. Our reputation grew and after a successful consultancy project disaster struck!

Our director was headhunted by an agency in Manchester. He became a director in that business and for a short period, Rebel Marketing as it was then known, became dormant.

2015 – 2018: The Birth of Invoke Media

The current Invoke Media brand was born in Manchester, servicing clients in the city and across the North of England.

Whilst working in a busy Manchester agency was exciting, the clients considerably larger and well known, and the Manchester lifestyle extremely appealing; our director decided to return to his passion and reignite the entrepreneurial freedom of working for himself.

He left the agency and reactivated Rebel Marketing, with several key clients moving over to the business. 

Rebel Marketing was born in and branded for a different client base and in a different time, it was time for something new. So in 2015 Invoke Media was born.

Over the next 3 years the business went through highs and lows, expanding and contracting, moving with the market and developing its offering. 

Old skills were honed to perfection, new skills were learned and new strategies and tactics were innovated.

In this period over 6 million pounds of customer ad spend was spent, new industries explored and a solid reputation was developed.

2018 – 2019: The Return & Rapid Growth

Once again our director was offered a directorship in another business, a business centre located in Preston, his home town. Learning from the mistakes of previous years, the role was time limited and the focus was clear…Invoke was to be the priority.

In the immediate 6 months after taking up this role, something became clear…Preston had changed. 

The development and investment in the city was impressive, the attitudes & success of local businesses was positive and entrepreneurial spirit plentiful.

In summer of 2018 Invoke Media streamlined its operations, closed up shop in Manchester and moved to Cotton Court Business Centre in Preston. 

Becoming an active player in the local business landscape, expanding & developing networks and securing multiple key accounts, revenue has nearly quadrupled. A testament to the thriving business ecosystem, positive attitudes and support being provided in the Central Lancashire area.

The addition of hospitality and recruitment wings of the business is well underway after a series of high profile wins and successful campaigns. With the team growing and 2020 looking to be another record year for the business.

So today we celebrate 6 years of being a legal entity, highs, lows, successes & failures. We look forward to another 6 years of marketing excellence in a city that is going from strength to strength.

Social media is a great tool for quickly disseminating information amongst friends and seeking advice. The question is, how accurate is the advice being given?

If there’s one thing recent high profile scandals at the international level have highlighted, it’s just how easily false information can be spread through social media and the impact that can have. 

This weekend we became aware of an image being shared on Facebook, advising business owners on how their friends can invite all of their Facebook friends to like their business page in one go. 

Whilst seemingly a good piece of advice, we are urging all small business owners to STOP and consider the implications of doing so of which they may not be aware of.

Whilst we aren’t quite accusing the Russian government of distributing this image to disrupt our economy, it could very easily have long lasting negative impacts on the individual small business owners who follow this advice and share it on in good faith.

In our opinion, it’s about as trustworthy for your business as the Momo Challenge is for your children.

 

You may have seen this shared on Facebook over the last few days.

We’re aware that the business owners following this advice are likely not be marketers or have any marketing experience. Many small business owners can not yet afford to pay agencies or specialists to manage their social media channels.

Whether it’s protein powder to get muscles or Juice Plus to make money, everyone loves the prospect of a ‘silver bullet’. The shortcut to success that requires minimum effort and gets maximum results. Unfortunately there are very few of these in marketing.

It is our position as a business, and my personal and professional opinion (I’ve got a good few letters after my name, experience under my belt and successes & failures to boot) that this technique should be avoided, here is why…

Facebook Optimisation

Facebook is continuously looking at your page and collecting data on who likes, follows and views it, and who engages with your posts. 

This gives Facebook an idea of who you page is targeted at and is most relevant to, and allows them to then place it in front of more people like that.

It will show in the crowded timelines of your followers friends when they engage and also show as a recommended page to the people similar to your followers.

By inviting all your friends, and then asking them to do the same (and potentially their friends to do the same) you are essentially approaching your marketing with a scattergun approach. Your page will be populated with people who are not relevant to your business  and will therefore be presented to more people who are not relevant to your business and not likely to ever use your service or buy your product.

You are essentially sending the wrong ‘signals’ to Facebook about who your customers are and therefore instead of presenting your page to your future customers, it’s showing it to a random hotch-potch of users. 

Think of it this way. Your friends list is made up of a variety of people, from your grandma or auntie, to unknown Thai women that for some reason you accepted back in 2008.

If you own a Male clothing store and you invite all of your friends, and bless your grandma she wants to help and likes the page, then inviting all of her friends…you are essentially telling Facebook that your page is relevant to Females over the age of 80.

Now throw into the mix all the other people that make up your friends lists on top of that, such as people you’ve met on holiday, neighbours etc. and you’re giving Facebook too many ‘signals’ for it to realise a pattern. Instead of presenting your page to a highly targeted audience of Men aged 18 – 30, it’s pushed out to every man and his dog, and his dogs cousin.

There’s not much going back from that, other than going through your page likes one by one and removing them. A time consuming and laborious task that most of you won’t likely know how to do. Even then there is no guarantee that this will fix the way Facebook ‘views’ your page and optimises it moving forward.

Reach & Engagement

Having lots of non-relevant people on your page will damage the engagement of your posts and reach of your marketing messages.

Let’s for arguments sake say that you’ve taken the advice from your well-intentioned friend and invited 3000 non-relevant people to your page, and a few of your friends have done the same and you’ve gained 1000 new likes on your small business page.

These people may have liked your page as a way to support you, but aren’t relevant and won’t ever use your business. They’ve essentially done this is a ‘one-time favour’ but they’re unlikely to engage with your business again. You’ve turned into just another page on their long list of hundreds of pages they’ve liked over the years.

Reach is the number of unique people who see a post or ad. 

Facebook changed the way its algorithm worked for business pages back in 2018, meaning that the average organic reach (ie. not paid for reach) of posts dropped from around 20-30% to around 6.5%. 

So for every 1000 people that like your page, on average only 65 people will see your post.

It’s a clever business model. Get the platform known and used by businesses big and small, show some great results and then change the way it works so to get anywhere near the same reach you’ll have to pay them money through the ads platform (Don’t even get me started on the boost button, that’s a whole article in itself).

It wasn’t all for monetary gain. As Facebook newsfeeds became more saturated with content, more pictures, more posts, more videos of cats playing the piano…it became difficult for organic posts to cut through the noise. 

The way to rectify this is to look more at what is relevant to the individual (think back to my first point about the signals being sent), to encourage people to pay to target their content at people who have shown an interest in certain criteria and most crucially to this article, to look at engagement on pages and posts.

You’ve just invited 3000 people and gained 1000 people. Only 100 of which are relevant or interested in what you have to say.

The other 900 will not like or engage with your posts or page again. Essentially telling Facebook your content is rubbish and not worth populating the timelines of your other page followers or their friends.

You’ve got a higher number of followers, but a less engaged audience. Your likes and engagement are weighed against each other and you’re considered to be lower quality. Your posts reach even less people and your page isn’t put in front of as many people as it was before.

 

Get advice from qualified experienced professionals where possible. Not all of them are this good looking as this bald chap unfortunately.

So what should you do?

If you’re going to invite your Facebook friends, you should only invite those who fit your target customer profile. Your what now?

We teach people how to identify and speak to their target audience by writing customer profiles. Identifying the demographics, psychographics and behavioural traits of the people most likely to benefit your business. That again is another article in itself and we’re happy to provide you with guidance on how to do it, but for brevity think of it as this…

  • Working out what your customer looks like…their age, where they live, how old they are, are they a man or a woman (or both, who knows in this day and age)
  • Working out what the customer wants…. what problems your service provides and what objections they may have to using your service.
  • Working out where your customer can be found…what social media channels do they use, what tv shows they watch, who influences them, what books or magazines they read.

This massive simplification of the process is all you need as a small business owner to identify who you should invite and what you should be posting to get them to engage. You aren’t spending thousands on ads or writing a strategy, but if you want to know how to do it properly then get in touch!

Using a beauty salon business or nail bar as an over simplified example:

  • Female Aged 18 – 35
  • Lives within 2 miles of Preston city centre.
  • Wants new acrylic nails for a night out at the weekend
  • Has reservations about the price and usually uses someone else so isn’t 100% sold on using you
  • Their usual salon is booked up and they need these for a night out in 2 days, you have availability
  • They use Facebook & Instagram multiple times a day
  • Read Women’s magazines such as Cosmo or Vogue
  • Influenced by their friends and people they know on social media – has seen your work on Instagram.

This provides you with a rough guide on who you should be inviting to like your page. You can now go through your friends list and invite people one by one, ensuring the closest fit to your customer profile.

It might take longer than ‘inviting all’, but it will yield better results, set your business up in the long run and is a hell of a lot quicker than removing 1000 random Thai women from your page in 6 months time. 

Some Other Ideas

There’s loads of other ways you can increase the number of people who like your page or gain additional reach.

Paid social advertisements are the best way to reach your customers in our professional opinion and experience.

Paid Social Ads

The best and most effective way is to use paid advertisements. Many small business owners will not have the skill set to do this effectively and may decide to stop after their first failed attempt. My advice, speak to a professional and get some advice. 

This is how Facebook generate 80-90% of their revenue, it’s the way they want you to use and therefore is the most effective way to reach your customers on their platform. 

Invest in your business and stop looking for the silver bullet of marketing. If it worked like that, everyone would be doing it. 

 

Competitions

Run incentivised competitions from your page that use your core offering/product/service as the prize. There’s no point giving away a holiday if you’re a pie shop. You will get lots of people entering but not many of them relevant. Use your prize to qualify the entrants as your target audience. Whilst the terms and conditions of Facebook forbid you from forcing an action in order to enter (although Facebook is awash with like & share competitions) there’s no harm in asking entrants to like your page as well.

Be careful you don’t fall foul of Facebook’s rules regarding competitions, read them here: https://www.facebook.com/policies/pages_groups_events/

Face-to-Face

As much as we make 96% of our revenue from digital marketing, we still can’t stress the benefits of face-to-face communication in building your brand and business. It isn’t a scalable solution ie. you can’t replicate it at large volume in a cost effective manner, but it could go a long way to building a core audience on your social channels.

Ask your paying customers to like your page whilst you are with them face-to-face and explain how it helps you. 

Counter

The Smiirl counter can be used to register your page likes and encourage people to like your social media channels.

If you want to take this one further and you have a brick and mortar business, you could even get a Facebook / Social Media Likes & Followers counter for your premises. We recommend the Smiirl counter, even if it is a little pricey at around £350.

See them here: https://www.smiirl.com/

 

 

 

We have one in the office that we use for campaigns to show how many people have given their data. It ticks over every 15 minutes to update the number and can be linked to your Facebook or Instagram account. People love the engagement of tools like this and will like your page just to see if it works!

 

Email

If you have customer email addresses in a database, why not ask them to go over and like your page? Provide a link directly to your Facebook page and give them a clear bullet pointed step-by-step on what to do (people need to be told exactly what to do on the internet) and why it would help you. Incentivise it if you can.

Website

Add a Facebook Like button to your homepage or blog content if it lends itself to it. 

Caveats 

There are of course caveats to every rule. Certain businesses and circumstances may lend themselves to mass inviting. 

It might work in some mass markets or in a localised area…but its risky.

If you are a local restaurant owner and your friends list consists of local people, it’s fair to say that they are relevant to your page and business. It’s a mass market, everyone needs to eat after all. Where that gets a little tricky is when you have people from out of the area or local people start inviting those from out of the area to like the page, there’s no control once it’s left your hands. 

 

Have we ever used the invite all feature? Yeah!

There is some limited benefit to having page likes. They are a vanity metric in the most part and provide a level of social proof. When people see a page with 200 likes they trust it more than one with just 5 likes. It’s a psychological principle used extensively in marketing.

We are forever setting up small business pages to test campaigns or run paid campaigns either to establish new businesses ourselves or test the effectiveness of campaigns for our clients. We usually set up these pages, run a campaign for a month and close them down.

In order to get a volume of likes and quickly, we sometimes invite our personal contacts or ‘acquire’ likes from elsewhere. It doesn’t matter, because we aren’t using the pages for organic reach and we know we’re deactivating the page in the near future.

There’s likely other caveats and circumstances where using the invite all feature works and is a good idea, we just aren’t sure what they are. What we do know is they are in the minority and for most of you, you shouldn’t be doing it.

Remember people, this is the internet. People will share false information for a laugh or maliciously. Others will blindly share pictures and posts in an attempt to be helpful without checking the validity of the information they are providing.

Next time you see an image like this sharing advice for your small business, especially marketing, please please please come and speak to me or one of the team. We won’t charge you for a quick bit of advice or to provide an opinion if you’re a small business owner.

We actively support small business owners and especially those across the North of England. If we can help and even have a tiny impact and it doesn’t take too much away from our own business, why wouldn’t we help someone out who needs it?

 

Give us a shout on Hello@InvokeMedia.co.uk 

 

Jack Barron

Director

Invoke Media

01772 921 109

 

*My experience…9 years digital marketing, 15 years overall marketing & promotions. 1st Class Bachelors Management Degree (Hons) and MSc in Marketing Communications from UCLan and MMU respectively.
15 years experience running my own business. Several failed entrepreneurial attempts. Personally managed approx £9 million on paid digital ads. I’m a dog lover and therefore trustworthy.

Preston based marketing agency Invoke Media are celebrating a quadruple win after last week’s successful Prestfest event on Preston Flag Market.

The annual event is organised by the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce’s Preston Business Improvement District (BID), with the intent of bringing thousands of party goers into the city centre to stimulate the night-time economy & celebrate the coveted purple flag accreditation.

This year’s sell-out event has surpassed all previous years in terms of attendance, economic impact and customer feedback.

The planning and execution of the event has been led by Preston BID, alongside a careful selection of expert providers from the Preston and Central Lancashire area.

Invoke saw three of our key clients involved in the event. Preston BID as the event organiser, Get Staffed providing the bar and hospitality team, and UK Media & Events as the event management and production agency.

In addition to client involvement, Invoke Media took the marketing lead for the event for the third year running, providing paid social advertisements, messenger marketing, live video streams and overall marketing consultancy & support; helping Preston BID sell 95% of its online tickets before the event.

Jack Barron, Invoke Media

Jack Barron, Director of Invoke Media said:

“It’s one of those rare occasions where we get to collaborate with multiple key clients on the same project. It was a great experience to work with like-minded people, each an expert in their own field, to put together an excellent event that has driven thousands of people into the city centre. Our involvement and that of three key clients makes this a quadruple win for us and extremely satisfying.”

He continued:

“The main reason we moved Invoke Media to Preston from Manchester was to support and be a part of the development & investment that is happening in our city, my hometown. It’s events like this, local collaboration and hard working organisations like Preston BID that are driving growth and making us a true contender in the region, we can’t wait until next year”

Mark Whittle, Manager of Preston BID said:

“Preston BID worked with a close-knit team of local trusted businesses, to plan and execute our most successful event to date. By working with Preston businesses we’ve not only ensured a sell-out, well-run event; we’ve fed back into the local economy and supported chamber members.”

The event has been authorised by BID members to return in 2020, with Invoke already lodging an interest to once again take up the marketing function for the event and continue the longstanding good relationship with the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce.